Alright, let's have part 1 of protein talks that could go on forever if we're being honest lol
Let's just start with the basics: What is protein? Why do we need it? How much should we have?
Protein is a macronutrient.
Protein is a combination of amino acids arranged and broken down.
Protein is the building block for literally everything in our bodies, including....muscle.
Remember that muscle is metabolic tissue, so the more we have, the more fat we burn naturally at rest.
That being said, our entire bodies are made of up proteins and what determines a high quality protein is the amino acid profile. Without going too deep into it, I will do a post about amino acids specifically, there are essential and non-essential amino acids.
Essential means we must get it from our diet or supplementation, our bodies don't produce them on its own.
Non-essential means our body does produce them on it's only.
Within the Essential Amino Acids, you have Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which many of you may be familiar with. BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
Note: taking a BCAA supplement is not going to hurt you, but being honest, it's not going to help you get gains either. BCAAs alone are not enough to fully unlock and support muscle protein synthesis, you need all of the aminos for that. A good Essential Amino Acids (EAA) supplement is great to help with recovery though, when you drink it all at once and it has the 2.5g of Leucine.
Now, with all of this, our goal by eating a high protein diet is to protect lean muscle mass, stay in muscle protein synthesis and anabolic states as much as possible, and to store less fat. The ways this happens is:
1) When we eat high protein, it's very hard for our body to store protein as fat so we can eat well and feel full, but not store fat like when we eat a lot of carbs/fats
2) Protein helps to rebuild our muscle tissue after training, so we get results faster and our workouts are "worth" more.
3) 2.5g of Leucine acts as the key to unlocking the muscle protein synthesis process, so a good protein source should include this 2.5g of leucine.
Speaking of sources, great sources of protein include fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs/egg whites.
For vegan/vegetarian folks, you can use a combination protein of rice and pea protein but you will need to supplement more than most folks because plant proteins are not complete proteins. They don't have the most ideal amino acid profile for results and it can be very calorie heavy to eat enough. For example, you'd have to eat 4-6 cups of quinoa to equal the same protein benefits as a chicken breast; so that's almost 1000 calories VS. about 200-300. I suggest Vegan Power Pro, because it is a complete protein blend that is appropriately dosed with its amino profile and made in the most high quality ways: https://1stphorm.com/products/vegan-power-pro/?a_aid=Ami
Whey protein is the most complete if you are looking into supplementation, but keep in mind that Leucine need.
The goal, typically, should be to eat about 30-50g of a high quality protein source, multiple times throughout the day. But it really depends on your overall daily intake need. Many professionals and studies suggest that the ideal amount of daily protein is 1g per pound of ideal body weight per day.
For example, if you are 180 pounds and your goal is 160, you would want to ingest 160g of protein a day, split that up between however many meals you like to eat in a day.
Protein is especially needed immediately post workout and you'd want to get an isolate there if you are going to supplement. I suggest one paired with a carbohydrate to replenish muscle glycogen, here's what I use: https://1stphorm.com/products/post-workout-stack/?a_aid=Ami
Not all protein supplements are creating equally and I will do a whole other post on that, but for now, just know that increasing your protein intake especially as we get older and/or our training increases is #1 importance. It doesn't matter if you're keto, low carb, high carb..you MUST have protein in adequate amounts.
So, the key or starting part to any "diet" or making healthier choices:
1) be in a caloric deficit (intake less than you output)
2) drink a gallon of water a day
3) sleep 7-9 hours a night
4) increase your protein intake
If you would like more info or tips/tricks to increasing your protein, please reach out to us at email@example.com